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The Darkest Corners

Review

The Darkest Corners

From Kara Thomas, author of the Prep School Confidential series, comes the hauntingly addictive novel THE DARKEST CORNERS.
 
Tessa Lowell has never been the same since she left Fayette, Pennsylvania almost 10 years ago, and she’s never planned on going back. After all, there’s nothing much waiting for her there --- her dad’s in prison, her used-to-be best friend, Callie, clearly wants nothing to do with her, and one of the reasons she left in the first place was because her mom and sister abandoned her, leaving her in the care of her aloof grandmother. Another reason she left was because all those years ago, Callie’s cousin Lori was murdered --- and because then-nine-year-olds Callie and Tessa helped put the killer behind bars.
 
With her traumatizing past in mind, Tessa is understandably less than thrilled to hear the news that her no-good father is dying, which means that she must make the journey from Florida back to Fayette. Returning to Fayette means confronting Callie and the only town she knew as a child.  Returning to Fayette means Tessa must face the secrets and doubts that have led her to obsessively track any news of the tragedy from her past. Returning to Fayette means Tessa might find out once and for all, if Lori was really killed by Wyatt Stokes, the man she and Callie helped convict as the serial murderer known as the Ohio River Monster…or if her blurry memories of the nightmare from long ago indicate a different culprit.
"THE DARKEST CORNERS is an exhilarating book, and Tessa and Callie are just the right protagonists for it. Smart, charismatic, but deeply touched by the harrowing events of the past, each girl grows immensely through the novel."
As Tessa navigates her return to her old life, more disturbing incidents occur and more unnerving details surface, pointing to the horrific notion that Stokes might not be the killer after all --- and that there is a murderer still on the loose in Fayette.
 
All the while, Tessa is running out of time to discover the truth --- and if she’s too late, there will be more on the line than answers --- because the Monster is hiding in all the darkest corners.
 
THE DARKEST CORNERS is an exhilarating book, and Tessa and Callie are just the right protagonists for it. Smart, charismatic, but deeply touched by the harrowing events of the past, each girl grows immensely through the novel. Thomas provides her narrator Tessa with just enough bitingly dry humor to cut the charged suspense that pervades throughout the story. Overall, there is hardly a character left undeveloped, and each one does his or her job in advancing the plot or adding an element to the allure.
 
The brilliant writing only serves to further the extremely compelling plot; even when there is a lull in the action, Thomas’s monologues, dialogues and intense detail breathe life into her richly articulated story. Although, admittedly, there are some slower points and slight disconnects in the novel, Thomas outdoes herself in her creation of a vivid balance of character development and action, the presence of which more than makes up for any letup in the book’s tone of shrewd disquiet.
 
THE DARKEST CORNERS is increasingly difficult to put down --- when reading it, it becomes hard to think of anything else, and its gradual build-up will leave you guessing until the conclusion. The mystery doesn’t disappoint, but perhaps the most impressive part of Thomas’s novel is the way she seamlessly addresses loss, friendship, uncertainty and how we cope in a book that is billed as a thriller. THE DARKEST CORNERS is a refreshing alternative in a YA genre packed with dystopian literature, and something sure to satisfy all of the readers/adrenaline seekers looking for their next one-of-a-kind read.

Reviewed by Laura T., Teen Board Member on April 26, 2016

The Darkest Corners
by Kara Thomas